Who hasn’t heard of Rio? It was on our list of must see cities…hearing Brazilians speak highly of Rio only increased our anticipation. This is one of the few destinations that both tourists, and locals seem to love.

For the November 2nd long weekend (‘Dia de Finados’ or ‘Day of the Dead’ 1, we headed to Rio. We caught an early morning flight out of Congonhas airport, Sao Paulo. Formula 1 is a big deal here…this race car was on display at the airport and folks would just stop to ogle at it.

In Rio, the drive from the airport to the popular neighborhoods near the shoreline took a while due to heavy traffic. Unlike Sao Paulo, the not-so-glamorous parts of Rio, are starkly in view along this drive. Then again, from the outside at least, the Favelas 2 don’t look as bad as some of the slums in other parts of the world. Once we got to Lagoa (lagoon) Rodrigo de Freitas, the whole look changed. It borders other nice neighborhoods like  Ipanema, Leblon, Copacabana, Jardim Botânico, etc.

We were grateful that the view from our hotel in Leblon was great. The weather forecast for the weekend was not ideal…not much rain but overcast skies.

After checking in, we headed to Cristo Rendentor (Christ the Redeemer), one of the new 7 wonders of the world 3. When we were buying tickets, we were warned that there was heavy fog at the top of the hill. Given our short trip, we could not afford to wait it out, so we went anyway. Once up there, we couldn’t see beyond 10 feet. A round of caipirinhas was needed to drown out our sorrow.

After that, it was just a waiting game. Every once in a while, we would get a glimpse of Christ’s face, and then it would disappear behind the heavy fog.

And then it happened. The fog subsided more often, and for longer. We finally got a chance to pose for pictures.

More posing.

We got to see not just the statue, but the city down below as well. The juxtaposition of a city against such a beautiful shoreline that has many interesting geographic features, makes this a truly beautiful and memorable city. On a clearer day, the view from up here must be even more impressive!

That night, we headed to Lapa, a historic neighborhood in Rio. The street ‘Rua do Lavradio’ was lined with lively bars, and restaurants, and had a cool feel to it.

We went to Rio Scenarium based on everyone’s recommendation. Interesting place with many levels, all kinds of stuff on walls, live Brazilian music, and equal parts locals and tourists. They even had a night club on one of the levels for those who wanted to switch from Samba to Techno.

At some point, it was time to call it a night.